Yoga with Dogs

The hubs was out for the evening yesterday, so once the boys were (finally) in bed, I attempted to do a “relaxing” yoga video. I spend a lot of time reading — scholarly articles, book chapters, people magazine exclusives — so I probably should have aimed for a more rigorous workout. But with less than two weeks before my oral defense, that exam that determines whether the last eight or so years of my life have been worthwhile or not, my stress levels might just be a tad elevated.

All was looking good as the puppy snoozed on the couch, his suddenly-long limbs stretched to ensure there would be no rivals for his coveted spot.

I unrolled my mat, opened the laptop, and clicked “start”. One of those pesky ads popped up, loud and grating as they usually are, and startled the pup awake. Apparently advertising jingles signal playtime for the four-pawed and furry.

He looked at my little set up on the floor as if to say “And what is this? A new squishy mat to be chewed and rolled-on and scratched? Yippee!”

Thinking he would quickly loose interested if I ignored him, I let him play for a few minutes. But clearly I under-estimated the allure of the yoga mat with all its squashy gloriousness.

So I determined to proceed with my routine and try my best to ignore my companion.

It wasn’t, as it turns out, all that easy to simply ignore a four month old puppy who wished to play. In fact, something about Labs I’m quickly noticing is how little regard they have for how close is too close. As I read in the puppy training manual: the shortest book in the world would be entitled Labrador Retrievers on Personal Space.

When his attempts to sit in my lap as I “found my centre” (here it is, mum, right where I’m sticking my elbow!) were rejected, my canine companion determined that his best bet for my undivided attention would be a dedicated strategy of interferrence.

To that end, he dutifully “helped” me discover the true potential of classic yoga poses: downward-facing-the-dog’s-rear-end flowed somewhat awkwardly into cobra-with-licked-face, and my personal favourite, warrior-with-nibbled-toes.

At the five minute mark, I determined that perhaps the puppy would be happier outside, but after a thirty-second bathroom break he was back crying at the door to join in.

For his second act, he brought props: his much beloved “broccoli” that he squeaked in my face as I tried to “focus on the (dog)breath”, followed by his all-time fave, the kitchen broom, no doubt to evidence his commitment to “clean” eating.

When these items failed to attract sufficient attention, he began throwing himself rather acrobatically through the metal stools in the kitchen, suggesting that he would prefer a Pilates equipment class.

At 11 minutes, the crashing of furniture, galloping paws, and shouts of “no!”, “down!”, and “for the love of …!” awakened the baby. Sighing, I stopped the video and went to soothe him.

When I returned, many minutes and several rounds of lullabies later, the puppy was passed out cold on the yoga mat.
Not wanting to see what modifications the puppy would make to chair, lotus, or heaven forbid, tree, I opted instead to pour myself a glass of wine.

So while I didn’t technically achieve the workout I’d planned, I consoled myself with the knowledge that recent studies have shown a glass of wine before bed is as good as thirty minutes of exercise. But how does it compare to eleven minutes of dog yoga, I wondered? Judging from my level of exhaustion, it felt comparable to running a marathon.

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  1. I remember trying something similar when our dog was a puppy. Actually it would. E just as dangerous now, getting down on the floor instantly signals that you want to be sat on and licked apparently, needless to say, I stick with the wine!

  2. Really! A glass of wine is good as 30 minutes exercise?? Where is this study! Ineed to read it 🙂 I agree wine is much easier with a dog, and less likely to wake the baby up 🙂 Thanks for linking up with #FridayFrolics

  3. We had a lab a few years back and she was like Marley’s sister!Lovely amazing animal but wired to the moon. So getting any form of exercise in the house done was literally impossible, all Lumpy saw was play time/play time/play time! Doesn’t really help when you are a bit stressed but I’m with you all the way, when all else fails, drink wine 🙂 #mg

  4. We had a beautiful lab called Lumpy a few years back and she was like Marley’s sister! Lovely amazing friendly animal but absolutely wired to the moon. So getting any form of exercise in the house done was literally impossible, all she saw was play time/play time/play time! Doesn’t really help when you are a bit stressed but I’m with you all the way, when all else fails, drink wine 🙂 #mg

  5. Haha – bet it looked hilarious though! Cats are fine for yoga – they’ll totally ignore that – but not so good when you’re doing paperwork. Cats like to be involved in (ie sat in) paperwork.

    Sorry for my lateness – having technological issues this week! Thanks so much for joining us on #FridayFrolics

  6. Oh my gosh this just had me in hysterics, I can just picture everything you are saying and it has really made my day! We have a almost 2 year old dog, she is obsessed with putting herself wherever I am, we get a new pup next week and I am looking forward to more cheeky adventures #mg

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